CrackedBerry… RIM’s Fall from Grace

If you mentioned that you had a BlackBerry to a friend or colleague a few years ago, you may have heard some envy. Research in Motion’s (RIM) product was solid and perfect for the on-the-go business person. Lately, though, RIM has seen it’s reputation tarnished. It has left many wondering if the company will ever really recover.

Just this year, BlackBerry has seen the PlayBook launched to lukewarm reviews and disappointing sales. Earlier in October, Best Buy announced that it was cutting the PlayBook price by $200. In September, RIM’s said it shipped only 200,000 PlayBooks. On top of all this, revenues fell sharply after a disappointing second quarter of 2011.RIM’s outlook didn’t get much better with the outage that felled its mail and BlackBerry Messenger system on Oct. 10. Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said at BlackBerry’s annual developers’ conference that it would offer $100 in free apps to users. It hardly put a band-aid over a gaping wound.

While Apple continues to soar with the iPhone and phones built on Google Inc.’s Android platform sell well, the BlackBerry- and RIM- is failing. Think there’s a black cat in the RIM board room? The week of the BlackBerry outage, Apple unveiled the iPhone 4S. Talk about bad PR.

A recent survey from Enterprise Management Associates shows that 30 percent of BlackBerry users in companies with more than 10,000 users will move to a different mobile platform in the next year. Further data shows only 14 percent of BlackBerry users are satisfied with their devices, EMA found, versus 44 percent of iPhone owners.

As a current BlackBerry user, I’ve been disappointed with the way this once innovative company has slowed. Outages happen, but when people stop finding the excitement or usefulness of your product, something needs to happen and fast.

RIM hasn’t moved fast enough. They’ve been reactionary instead of being proactive. It is costing them in sales and in the PR realm as well. The only hope may be the BBX mobile platform. However, there may not be many fans left to give it a chance.

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